By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Two days ago, the scowl on Romero Osby’s face would’ve terrified a pack of angry wolves. It was a replaced by a smile bright enough to light a building.
The change in expression came seconds after Oklahoma completed a 73-67 victory over Texas Monday night at Lloyd Noble Center. It was a night where Osby put the Sooners (13-4, 4-1 Big 12) on his broad shoulders and carried them to their first ESPN “Big Monday” victory in three years.
Against the Longhorns, he was the biggest bull in the pasture, scoring a career-high 29 points and grabbing a game-high eight rebounds.
“It was a testament to my teammates and coach running stuff for me,” Osby said. “My teammates were finding me and giving me the ball. I didn’t have to do much with it, other than make one move.”
Osby was coming off a 12-point performance in the Sooners’ loss to Kansas State on Saturday. Osby, who’s led his team in
scoring all season, was uncharacteristically lethargic against the Wildcats. Against Texas, he was pretty close to unstoppable. The 29-point effort came on 9-for-15 shooting and a 10-for-11 effort from the free-throw line. He even sank a 3-pointer — Osby’s third of the season — to give OU a 48-36 lead with 12:26 to go.
It was the nightmare scenario for the Longhorns.
“We really believe that Osby is one of the best players in the league. This is a guy who can score in a lot of different ways, and we love the way he plays,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
It took a while for Osby and anyone else to settle into the game. With four minutes to go in the first half, he only had five points. It was during that opening 16 minutes that OU and Texas were playing one of the sloppiest games in the history of the Red River Rivalry. They combined for 21 first-half turnovers.
However, Osby scored nine points in the final four minutes of the first to give OU a 30-26 halftime lead. It never trailed again.
Osby wasn’t the Sooners’ lone post player to have a big night. Forward Amath M’Baye added 15 points with six coming on alley-oop dunks.
“I thought they were fantastic,” OU coach Lon Kruger said of the post play. “I thought Roe and Amath established early that they were going to be aggressive and attack. The guys did a good job of getting the ball in the right spot. But, again, those guys were being very aggressive on the offensive end.”
The Sooners shot 48.1 percent (25-for-52) and were 21-for-27 from the free-throw line. Freshman guard Buddy Hield added 12 to help the Sooners end a six-game losing streak against its Red River Rival.
The grim on Osby’s face came from finally winning one of the Sooners’ biggest rivalry games.
“Since I’ve been here, they have beaten us,” Osby said. “Twice my first year when I redshirted and twice last year, so to come in and finally beat them, it feels good.”
Sheldon McClellan scored 25 off the bench to lead the slumping Longhorns (8-10, 0-5). Ioannis Papaetrou added 12 points.
The loss was Texas’ fifth straight to start the Big 12 Conference and the sixth in the last seven games. It shot 44.3 percent (27-for-61). Scoring wasn’t Texas’ issue. It was the inability to contain Osby.
Follow me @john_shinn
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.